Mets Merized Online » Kirk Nieuwenhuis http://metsmerizedonline.com Sun, 01 Feb 2015 12:00:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.5 2014 Free Agent Review: The Peralta Effect (Part 2 of 3) http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/2014-free-agent-review-the-peralta-effect-part-2-of-3.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/2014-free-agent-review-the-peralta-effect-part-2-of-3.html/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 15:52:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168645 Jhonny = Peralta

I reviewed  long-term free agent deals (7-10 years) last week, and today I’ll examine last off-season’s  mid-term deals (4-6 years) highlighted by the Cards’ Jhonny Peralta.

The Mets are close to turning a pivotal corner in the return to relevancy with a wealth of power pitching no less than a year away from being fully realized. Bartolo Colon was brought in to fill a portion of the black hole left by Matt Harvey who succumbed to a torn UCL injury, but anything behind Colon’s two year contract made little sense for the Mets in the long run.

The position players available to the club were former Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson, former Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, former Braves catcher Brian McCann and former Tigers second baseman Omar Infante.  The Mets anticipated a breakout season from their top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, so McCann made little sense at five years and $85 million. The organization’s deepest position, aside from pitching, is second base with Wilmer Flores and Dilson Herrera both waiting behind All-Star Daniel Murphy, so Infante was never a fit either.

Peralta had the best season of any mid-level free agent signed last offseason. He ended the year by posting a career high 5.4 WAR and quieted the critics who questioned whether he was worth the four year, $53 million deal that the Cardinals jumped to offer him. The majority of teams were hesitant to commit that amount of time and money to a 32-year old shortstop coming off a 50 game PED suspension, but St. Louis had faith in a different approach than the rest of the league and it certainly paid off.

The Mets instead signed former Yankee’s slugger Curtis Granderson, 33, to a similar four year, $60 million deal.  This satisfied a portion of the fan base that felt increased spending would hurdle the team into contention.  The minority view among the fans was that Granderson, despite having a successful career, would not regain his stroke in Citi Field after an injury shortened season a year before.  In the months of May, June, July and September, Curtis had 376 at bats, which represented more than 65% of his season total.  His produced a .272/.370/.860 slash line, along with 18 homers and 54 RBI.  The remaining 35% of the season (March, April, August), Curtis hit just .142/.241/.439.  The net result provided little value this season, but came with promising anecdotes headed into 2015.

Back in July, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs said this of advanced metrics: At times, they’re flawed, but oftentimes they discover outliers in the data, or exceptions to conventional rules.

A concern regarding Peralta last offseason was his defense. Scouts who studied Peralta in the field felt that his range was limited and his lower body was too bulky, therefore defensive metrics in favor of the shortstop were inaccurate. However, Cameron argued that metrics that support Peralta, like Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), are indeed accurate.

The stat line highlights him as an outlier, who replicated quality seasons on multiple occasions, despite the cautions of conventional wisdom.  Although written in July, the predictions held true as Peralta ended the regular season fourth among all qualified shortstops in UZR (12) and UZR/150 (12.7).

Wilmer Flores didn’t play enough games to qualify at shortstop, but his performance measured by UZR/150 ranked him 5th among those that did, with Ruben Tejada coming in at 7th.  The point being that, the same standards that deem Peralta a good shortstop, ranked our boys right behind him, so the Mets lost very little defensively by passing. The story at the plate turns into in an entirely different narrative with Peralta, especially if he was chosen instead of Granderson.

Offensively, Peralta was 2nd among qualified shortstops in home runs (21), RBI (75), slugging percentage (.443) and OPS (.779).  According to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, at least 18 of his 21 homers went beyond Citi Field’s dimensions, so his long ball power would have translated well to Queens. By comparison at shortstop, Jhonny still outperformed his counterparts on the Mets in almost every offensive category, combined. He also accomplished this in 86 fewer at-bats.  Per his season totals, Peralta hit 10 more home runs, 11 more doubles and 30 more singles than the Mets contingent.  In that same comparison, Peralta’s isolated slugging percentage (.179), or ISO, was 48.2% higher than the Mets shortstop unit (.093).

Had the Mets chosen Peralta instead of Granderson, it would have had a huge impact on the makeup of the outfield and the team’s performance in 2014.  By August, a combination of Matt den DekkerJuan Lagares and Kirk Nieuwenhuis would have been patrolling the outfield grass together.  Not long ago, those three were the top center field prospects in the Mets minor league system. Given a full season together, it’s possible they may have developed into one of the best defensive units in baseball. Oftentimes rare, unforeseen circumstances, present opportunities to a combination of players who otherwise may never have discovered their talents as a unit.

Through 27 games in LF, den Dekker batted .295 with a .404 on base percentage.  The home run ball eluded him, but he showcased his ability to spray doubles around the park and found ways to keep the line moving. His 26 hits, 8 doubles, 4 stolen bases, 15 walks and 17 runs brought tremendous value during that span. Translated into a 150 game season, that pace is good for 144 hits, 44 doubles and 94 runs scored.

Kirk played 17 games between right and center, where he’s far more comfortable, and hit .288/.371/.909 with 7 doubles, 2 home runs and 12 RBI.  This year, the Mets played two full games with an outfield of den Dekker (LF), Lagares (C) and Nieuwenhuis (RF).  The first was on 8/31 against the Phillies and the second was on 9/3 versus the Marlins.  The Mets won both of those games decidedly, on the backs of that very outfield unit, who either scored or batted in 5 of the team’s 10 runs in those games.  Together, over those 18 innings, they put up a collective slash line of .667/.769/1.991.    

In the short run, Peralta was a huge miss on behalf of the Mets. He would have been an added threat in the lineup and his presence in lieu of Curtis may have altered the fate of the outfield. In the long run, signing Curtis could also prove harmless. Kirk has likely earned a spot on the bench after his stellar campaign as a pinch hitter and den Dekker still has an opportunity to win a starting corner outfield spot.

Sandy Alderson knew what Peralta could bring to the Mets. He personally met with him in the offseason and the only other player he met personally was Granderson. But the Mets’ GM likely believed a more elite player at a lower cost was available heading into next season.  Few GM’s have the patience and conviction to sit out a full year in order to achieve their ultimate goal of winning a World Series, but the Mets are a unique team defined by big market expectations and a small payroll.  Alderson saw 2014 as another year to evaluate the players he’s targeted as options and his own players he’d consider dangling.

As always, I look for feedback from other fans, what’s your take?  Was Peralta the right shortstop for the Mets short and mid-term plans?  Should Alderson have followed his initial instincts when he viewed Peralta as a key Mets target? Or was Granderson at a year older the right call for the future of the team? Or should he have passed on both of them?

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Kirk Nieuwenhuis Is Out Of Options http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/kirk-nieuwenhuis-is-out-of-options.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/kirk-nieuwenhuis-is-out-of-options.html/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:53:18 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=167425 kirk walkoff

Kirk Nieuwenhuis will be entering his fourth MLB season in 2015, and at age 27 he’s now a fringe player who has run out of options.

As Mike Vorkunov of NJ.com points out, Nieuwenhuis is entering this season without a starting position available and is most likely fighting for a roster spot as a fourth outfielder for the Mets.

The most encouraging thing about Nieuwenhuis was his ability to hit for power in limited play last season, batting .259/.346/.482/.828 with 14 doubles and three home runs in 130 plate appearances.

Kirk seemed to thrive in his role as a pinch hitter, and defensively he’s capable of playing all three outfield spots. He even registered an impressive four defensive runs saved in 2014 according to FanGraphs.

Terry Collins was very pleased with the job Nieuwenhuis did for him. “He’s come off the bench, he came back and he’s probably been our most proficient pinch hitter.”

“The one value he brings us is he can play any position out there and that helps us a lot on the flexibility side of things. He’s done a nice job and this winter we’ll talk about what he needs to do to make sure he comes in and I think he’s out of options so he has to make himself ready.”

What do you think? Is Captain-Kirk a solid option as the Mets fourth outfielder?iheartnym

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Juan Lagares, Dilson Herrera, Vic Black Done For The Season http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/juan-lagares-dilson-herrera-done-for-year.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/juan-lagares-dilson-herrera-done-for-year.html/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 20:20:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=165935 juan lagares

Update (September 23rd, 2014)

Terry Collins announced on Tuesday evening that while Juan Lagares won’t need surgery, he is done for the season. He added that Dilson Herrera and Vic Black are also done for the year and earlier in the day it was announced that Jacob deGrom would not make his final start of 2014.

Original Story (September 17th, 2014)

Juan Lagares left Tuesday night’s game against the Marlins with what the team initially called a hyper-extended right elbow. He was removed prior to the top of the fifth and was replaced by Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

Lagares hyper-extended it while making a strong throw to nail Garrett Jones at second base after trying to run down a fly ball by Jarrod Saltalamacchia to shallow center.

This afternoon, Lagares told reporters that the MRI he underwent has revealed an elbow sprain and he is unsure of when he’ll return to action.

Team doctors will reexamine Lagares on Sunday so it’s safe to say he’ll likely be out until then.

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3 Up, 3 Down: The Kids Are Alright http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/3-up-3-down-the-kids-are-alright.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/3-up-3-down-the-kids-are-alright.html/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 17:32:05 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164908 MLB: Chicago Cubs at New York Mets

The Mets finished up their three game set against the Marlins with a 2-1 series victory last night. New York has an interesting parallel with their division rivals from Miami, in that both organizations have dwelled at the bottom of the NL East cellar for many years now, but through those years they also stockpiled young, athletic players with the potential to be stars. Let’s see how the Met’s youngsters stacked up in this edition of 3 Up and 3 Down.

3 Up

1.  Matt den Dekker, Juan Lagares and Kirk Nieuwenhuis are a stellar defensive unit in the outfield, they’re fast and fearless, but that speed and tenacity has transitioned recently at the plate. Of the three, I’ve been most impressed with den Dekker as of late. The indictment against Matt has always been that his offense may never develop enough to give his glove an everyday spot in the lineup. I’m only evaluating a small sample size, but MDD is showing improvement in areas that project future success. Mainly, he’s reverted to a shorter, more compact swing, allowing him to turn on pitches quickly. He’s also showing vast improvements in his plate discipline. In his first 12 games in August, he was seeing an average of 12.4 pitches per game. In his last seven, that number has gone up to 16.4 pitches per game, with a 22% increase in strikes. His walk rate has remained relatively flat, but now Matt is seeing better pitches and taking better swings. The results are fantastic as den Dekker left Miami with a triple slash line of .545/.615/1.252, plating a run, swiping a base and scoring twice. His defense holds up pretty well to his counterpart in center field as well.

2.  Juan Lagares is no stranger to Mets fans at this point. He continues to improve in every facet of his game, becoming more of a student, while retaining his ‘hair on fire’ style of play.  Lagares took tremendous strides in this series and gave us a glimpse of a superstar in the making.  First base coach Tom Goodwin has challenged Juan to transition his speed in the outfield to the basepaths and unsurprisingly, it’s been a success. Juan had three stolen bases in three attempts against the Marlins this series. In his last six games, he is 5-for-5, as Goodwin at times has forced him to steal. Lagares noted that he had previously been hesitant given the duress on his hamstring, but at 100%, he seems unstoppable. Prior to his recent streak, he was 4-for-7 all year. It also seems that the coaching staff is making a unique case for Lagares’ approach at the plate by ditching the one-size-fits-all philosophy and building on Juan’s strengths. Pitchers began to recognize his ability to hit balls on the outside of the plate, so they started going inside to him. Lamar Johnson worked with Lagares to pull the ball on the inside and it translated into home run power. Opposing pitchers are once again pitching him low and outside the strike zone and Juan has adjusted nicely by continuing to drive those balls to the opposite field. Tuesday, Lagares put his talents on exhibition, going 4-for-4 with a walk and two stolen bases. Overall, the center fielder batted .500 with an OPS of 1.105 in South Beach.

3.  Little “d” on the mound and behind the plate, means a W in the books. The battery duo of Jacob deGrom and Travis d’Arnaud has produced a team record of 5-3 in the games they start together, allowing a meager 1.07 walks/hits per innings pitched. Last night kept pace with that production, as deGrom went 6.0 innings, allowing only one earned run while striking out six.  He has lowered his ERA on the season to 2.87 and kept his name hot in the hunt for Rookie Of The Year.  Meanwhile d’Arnaud (the little ‘d’ is killing my auto-correct) continues to emerge as one of the top offensive catchers in the league. He already leads all rookies in home runs with 12, but had a great series, giving his pitchers a boost on offense. Travis produced a triple slash line of .500/.571/1.155 this series and is now a point away from having a .300 OBP and .700 OPS on the year, which is fairly remarkable given his woes prior to returning from AAA Las Vegas. Consistency is the name of the game for the youngsters, it’s the only true measurement of projecting sustained success in the future, and these players named so far have done a great job making the future very bright.

3 Down

1.  Pitching was atrocious for the most part in this series, which for the Mets, has been their strength all year.  Zack Wheeler was fortunate enough to have minimal damage done to his ERA, as it now sits at 3.45.  He only gave up two earned runs in Monday’s loss, but as a whole, he allowed five runs total while he was on the mound. Wheeler again turned in a brief outing, going only 4.2 innings with five hits and two walks, using 114 pitches to get through it all.  Zack clearly has the material to be an ace, but he has yet to figure out a way to keep his pitch counts down and go deeper into games.  Pitching coach Dan Warthen has got to prioritize this and reverse the trend or Wheeler may never reach his full potential. Jon Niese remarkably was able to walk away with a win on Tuesday, thanks entirely to an eight-run offensive outburst by his teammates (Jon did go 1-1 with a run scored to be fair), but he still surrendered 10 hits and six earned runs.

2.  Errors absolutely killed this team.  Jeurys Familia is a relief pitcher, so I’m slightly less aggravated by his two errors in the series, although they were total blunders. Dilson Herrera committed two errors in his three starts and David Wright also had a pair in the series, giving him 15 on the year. Wright is a seasoned vet and a former gold glover, although watching his errors gave me hope and disappointment simultaneously. Hope, because they had nothing to do with injury or lack of range. Disappointment because he was back on his heels when he committed a fielding error and he wasn’t squaring his body up when he made a poor throw. When David struggles from injury, I’m probably his biggest apologist and have been all year. This series was not a good display of The Captain leading by example though.

3.  In game decision making by the manager, in my opinion, cost the Mets their only loss in this series and could have cost the team another loss last night as well.  In the top of the 7th of a tie ball game on Monday night, Terry Collins made an offensive switch to bat Eric Campbell against lefty reliever Mike Dunn, taking Matt den Dekker out of the game.  Conventional wisdom agrees with Collins’ move here, but there were different elements that immediately made me feel like this was a poor choice.  The Marlins were producing runs all night, using all parts of the outfield to knock out base hits. Den Dekker is clearly the better defensive choice, and had also been producing at the plate that night too. In a game where the Mets pitchers were getting lit up, it made sense to leave den Dekker in. The result was Campbell flying out to center and in the following frame he dropped a ball he dove to catch in left field, It was the beginning of an error-filled meltdown. Hindsight is 20/20, but den Dekker was playing great that night and he undoubtedly would have made that catch. This isn’t a knock on Soup, but he’s not an outfielder. I also understand situational hitting, but at the same time, this is supposed to be a developmental period for our up and coming youngsters.  All position players who are looking to lock down a job in 2015 should be tested in all situations across nine innings of baseball to see what they’re really made of. As for last night, leaving Carlos Torres in to bat with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the eighth, instead of pinch-hitting Curtis Granderson, was a dangerous choice that just barely paid off. The entire reason behind that decision was so that Torres could face Giancarlo Stanton in the bottom of the eighth. The result?  Stanton cranked his 36th home run of the year, a magnificent bomb to left field.  Again, this is another case of hindsight after the fact, but I was baffled when I saw Torres toss a batting helmet on.  If it weren’t for a slick defensive play by Lucas Duda to rob a rocketed baseball off the bat Marcel Ozuna and end the inning, it most certainly could have backfired.

Lets.Go.Mets.

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3 Up, 3 Down: Mets Phil Up on Momentum For Miami http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/3-up-3-down-mets-phil-up-on-momentum-for-miami.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/09/3-up-3-down-mets-phil-up-on-momentum-for-miami.html/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 14:21:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=164748 dilson herrera jenrry mejia

The Mets went almost entirely with home grown talent this weekend against the Phillies as clubhouse veterans such as Daniel Murphy, David Wright and Curtis Granderson saw their playing diminished for various reasons.  The results?  The Amazins’ added another series W to this year’s resume.  Below are the usual 3 Up/3 Down takeaways.

3 Up

1.  Sunday was an interesting sight as the Mets trotted out three former center field prospects in Matt den Dekker (LF), Juan Lagares (CF) and Kirk Nieuwenhuis (RF) to defend the outfield.  As a unit, they also accounted for half of the offensive production yesterday, scoring 3 runs, stealing 3 bases while putting up a slash line of .333/.500/.833.  Defensively, Matt den Dekker played some great defense all series, making a web gem catch in Saturday’s loss to rob Ryan Howard of an extra base hit.  He also put in a great bid to gun down Freddy Galvis at home plate off of a sharp single by Jimmy Rollins, but Anthony Recker was unable to hold on to the one hop toss from Matt, despite on a dime.

2.  Jacob deGrom resumed his campaign for ROTY by having an excellent outing on Friday.  The former Stetson standout went 7 innings, allowing only 4 hits, 1 unearned run and 2 walks while punching out 5.  The 26 year old rookie has some outstanding numbers at home this season, posting a 1.68 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, a 3.06 strikeout to walk ratio, 0.50 home runs per 9 innings while opponents bat a meager .215 against him at Citi Field.

3.  Wilmer Flores had an outstanding series.  The 24 year old Venezuelan turned a great performance at the plate and with the glove.  Flores had a triple slash line of .500/.545/1.145, scored 2 runs, plated an RBI and even swiped a base.  On defense, Wilmer helped turn four separate double plays while also flashing some nice range, robbing Ben Revere of a base hit with a diving snag in yesterday’s win.

4. A bonus “UP” for Dilson Herrera who made his major league debut and earned his first hit, walk and RBI during the three game set. The beginning of what should be a fantastic career for the 20-year old second baseman.

3 Down

1. Curtis Granderson is spiraling downward rapidly since the All-Star break.  The struggling slugger only played two games in the series, getting a day to “clear his head” (a.k.a. benched) on Sunday.  Granderson went 0-8 with 2 strikeouts and despite one spectacular catch on Saturday night, his defense is extremely conservative and overall a liability.  It doesn’t help his cause that Lagares and den Dekker are spectacular within their respective regions, but there were several outfield hits that either of Granderson’s counterparts would have made and these hits ended up being the majority difference in the Amazins’ lone loss from the series.  Terry Collins disregarded the hits as more luck than anything else, but Curtis has lost a step in his speed to the ball and his bat isn’t hot enough to make up for the lack of defense.

2.  Lucas Duda is slumping hard recently and carried this trend into the Phillies series.  The Hulk went 1 for 12 in the series with no extra base hits, walks or RBI’s.  Duda even contributed a rare throwing error in Friday’s win, although his defense has remained solid overall.  The emergence of Duda was sure to come with some downward movement, but the upcoming series against Miami will be a true test for him and his future.  He is batting 0.87 with two singles in his last two series.  If Lucas is able to break out of his woes and get back to laying the barrel on the ball, it will go a long way towards quieting his critics who do not see his 2014 performance as proof that he is a lock at 1st base for the future.

3. Terry Collins continues to look like a lock in 2015, despite Wally Backman putting up tremendous numbers on the farm and garnering the support of nearly the entire fan base.  News broke during this series that there’s no chance the front office will consider the former World Series champ as a candidate to unseat the current manager and Collins’ remaining contract has little to do with it.  Had something to do with Wally thinking on his own, managing winning ball clubs with constantly fluctuating rosters, just winning in general…I don’t know, something along those lines.

*Side Note*- Condolences to Bartolo Colon for the loss of his mother, whom he buried Thursday prior to the start of this series.  Big ‘tolo didn’t have the best outing on Saturday, but it took incredible guts for him to get on the mound after such a devastating experience.  Thoughts and prayers are with Colon and his whole family.

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Bobby Abreu Expected To Join Mets In September http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/bobby-abreu-expected-to-join-mets-in-september.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/bobby-abreu-expected-to-join-mets-in-september.html/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 20:59:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=163443 bobby abreu

The Mets re-signed Bobby Abreu to a minor-league deal this past Friday, and a team official told Adam Rubin of ESPN new York. that he’ll assuredly be part called up in September when rosters expand.

“Whenever we sign a veteran player to a minor-league deal, we think about the impact he may or may not have on younger players,” VP of Player Development Paul DePodesta told Rubin. “We certainly believed Bobby could have a positive influence in addition to his on-field performance.”

Abreu has also expressed an interest in becoming a hitting coach after his playing days are over. DePodesta addressed that as well.

“As far as I know, there haven’t been promises made about the future, playing or otherwise. But we’re always on the lookout for guys who can continue to have an impact in uniform beyond their playing days.”

Abreu batted .238 with one home run and 14 RBI during his first stint with the Mets, and was hitless in his last 22 at-bats as a pinch hitter.

August 14

The Mets announced that they have re-signed outfielder Bobby Abreu and assigned him to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Las Vegas recently lost outfielders Matt den Dekker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis when the two players were promoted to the Mets, so this is obviously a move to add some outfield depth to the Triple-A squad.

There are many in the organization who view Abreu as a future coach, so this may be a sign that he’ll remain with the organization in some capacity after the season if no team is willing to give him a major league roster spot.

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Will Mets Youth Movement Lead To A Worst Case Scenario This Offseason? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/will-mets-youth-movement-lead-to-a-worst-case-scenario-this-offseason.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/will-mets-youth-movement-lead-to-a-worst-case-scenario-this-offseason.html/#comments Sun, 10 Aug 2014 14:00:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=163029 kirk nieuwenhuis

There’s not one among us who didn’t want the Mets to replace  Bobby Abreu with Kirk Nieuwenhuis, or Chris Young with Matt den Dekker. Or even Ruben Tejada with Wilmer Flores. However make no mistake that it’s not because we believe either of the three are the answers to our prayers and will fill our two biggest needs in left field and shortstop.

Given the team’s current circumstances it was prudent to at least try and find out what we have in these three players. And on top of that, there’s a sense of satisfaction in replacing the old and overpaid veterans with young and thirsty players who will likely outproduce them. There was a sense of being able to touch that future we keep hearing about even though it was based more on a hope than anything tangible.

That said, there’s a growing fear in some Mets circles. Here’s one example:

“What if den Dekker hits just enough to warrant a full one-year look in left field for 2015 rather than going after a more proven commodity and a known power source?

Ken Davidoff of the New York Post touched on that issue somewhat. Agreeing with the Mets decision to play the younger players, he says that the worst-case scenario would be having them perform so well that the Mets “go into the winter convinced they’ve found their answers and they needn’t spend significant money to upgrade their roster.”

The signing, and subsequent failure, of Young stood out because the Mets have such little room for error thanks to their $83-ish million payroll. Every team makes Young-sized mistakes. The majority of clubs can absorb just an error with ease more than the Mets can.

Established players almost always come at a high price, be they dollars, prospects or both, and look: The Mets’ biggest disappointment of all this season might be their most established player, captain David Wright.

Nevertheless, the Mets need to assume the risk on an established player in an attempt to lengthen their lineup and show their fan base they are serious about contending and climbing back to the salary stratosphere they used to occupy in better times.

Davidoff concludes that the Mets have lost all benefit of the doubt over the last few years and that he wouldn’t be surprised if they open next season with the same team they end this season with. It gives them another year to keep their sub-$85 million payroll and they can paint it under the guise that they are on a renewed dedication to youth.

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Mets Release Chris Young, Recall Matt den Dekker http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/mets-release-chris-young-recall-matt-den-dekker.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/08/mets-release-chris-young-recall-matt-den-dekker.html/#comments Sat, 09 Aug 2014 04:34:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=162762 chris young

The Mets have designated outfielder Chris Young for assignment and Matt den Dekker has been recalled and will be activated in time for tonight’s game in Philadelphia. 

Young, who was batted .205 with 28 RBIs in 254 at-bats, was informed by Sandy Alderson after the Mets’ 5-4 victory on Friday night. 

“It caught me a little bit off-guard,” Young said. “I wasn’t expecting it. I understood that the playing time had changed. And I realized that. But I didn’t think this was coming. The team has to do whatever they feel is best for the team. I respect that.”

Sandy Alderson spoke to reporters afterward:

“At some point you have to move on. I think this was about the time that we needed to do that. Chris has been, I think, an outstanding teammate to the other guys on the team. I’ve liked Chris a lot since the first time I met him. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as we would have liked.”

“We were looking for a bounce-back,” Alderson said. “Some of the material that we looked at suggested that was a possibility.”

One chapter closes and a new one begins.

Matt den Dekker is now expected to get the lion’s share of playing time along side Juan Lagares in left field. His .334 average was leading the Pacific Coast League, but more importantly for him, he’s cut down his strikeouts considerably.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis will continue to see playing time as the fourth outfielder and as a pinch hitter, a role he has embraced and succeeded in.

It may have taken longer than most of us wanted to see these moves, but what’s done is done and for now it looks like the Mets can ride the rest of the season out and see what they have.

August 6

It’s sounding like Chris Young’s days are numbered and that the Mets are getting ready to cut bait with him, perhaps as soon as this weekend.

One reporter, Mike Puma, also hears that Mets brass is expected to have a conversation soon on promoting Matt den Dekker, and as I wrote previously, when he comes, he will play regularly.

Keep it tuned to MMO while we follow this story…

August 7

If you’re still wondering Why Kirk Nieuwenhuis got the call-up over Matt den Dekker after the team designated Bobby Abreu for assignment, read on…

GM Sandy Alderson told ESPN New York the decision partly was based on Nieuwenhuis being more accustomed to a reserve role, and that he had already performed pretty well during his last go with the Mets.

“It had a little bit to do with the role,” Alderson said. “Nieuwy had played as a bench player up here, had platooned in left field. It was probably a more familiar role for him than for Matt. And the fact that [Nieuwenhuis] had been up earlier in the year and had done a pretty good job for us was probably a factor as well.”

Asked about den Dekker’s performance this season, Alderson said: “Offensively, he’s swinging the bat really well. The other thing to take into account is, OK, so what role is he going to play for us, as I just explained with Nieuwenhuis. But obviously we’re cognizant of what Matt’s doing and we’re pleased about it.”

This was the right move. As I wrote earlier this week, Kirk over Abreu was the no-brainer. Now if we didn’t have Chris Young wasting a roster spot, then MDD would have been the right call because he could slide into a more significant role.

As for the likelihood of releasing CY, Adam Rubin called Alderson cagey as the GM dodged the question: “We’re always evaluating our roster, but as I said, we’re getting close to Sept. 1. So it’s not a material issue.”

Chris Young has been a sore spot almost from the get-go for Sandy. He spent weeks trying to justify the signing to those who questioned his declining performance and diminished skills, and then had to field even more questions about promised playing time and his ultimate role.

Then there was some major backpedaling two months into the season when it appeared the move had backfired. The Young signing started to be described by Alderson and the front office as outfield insurance during a pair of appearances on ESPN and WFAN. The only problem with that was that CY was never treated as insurance (86 games, second most on team) and he kept getting plenty of playing time, even at the expense of younger and better options.

Meanwhile, Matt den Dekker is having a tremendous season for Las Vegas and currently leads the PCL with a .331 batting average. He is hitting .436 (17-for-39) with eight walks and only five strikeouts in his past 10 games. Rubin pointed out that he has just 25 strikeouts in 161 at-bats since his June 18 demotion to Triple-A. That’s a huge improvement.

Looking forward to seeing what MDD can do in September, assuming Terry Collins gives him the playing time.

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Kirk Nieuwenhuis is Making the Most of His Latest Opportunity http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/kirk-nieuwenhuis-is-making-the-most-of-his-latest-opportunity.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/kirk-nieuwenhuis-is-making-the-most-of-his-latest-opportunity.html/#comments Sun, 13 Jul 2014 15:48:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160586 kirk nieuwenhuis

One player who is really surprising me with his recent play is Kirk Nieuwenhuis. As I wrote last year on Mets Minors – Kirk was the forgotten man in the depth chart, a player whose star had fallen to the point where he didn’t even get a September call-up when the rosters expanded.

But here he is, back with the team since his exile in Las Vegas ended in June, and playing like the player we thought we had early in 2012. Since his recall, he’s appeared in 16 games, hitting .370 (10-for-27) with five doubles, one home run and five RBI. Yes, it’s a small sample size, but he doesn’t look lost like he did when he was with the major league team in 2013 and hit just .189 while striking out 32 times in 95 at-bats. He’s making a strong case for staying on the MLB roster as the fourth outfielder who won’t hurt you in the field and provides some left-handed punch off the bench.

He’s looking like a player who is realizing that his major league opportunity may pass him by if he doesn’t act now. He’ll be turning 27 next month and he’s at that age where the younger guys will pass right over him and he’ll be just another one of those career minor leaguers. In the last month, he’s making the most of that opportunity, and his stellar defensive play on Friday night to save a run with a throw to home plate was all hustle.

Despite being on the 40 man roster, Kirk wasn’t in the Mets plans last September. He didn’t make the opening day roster either as the Mets opted for Andrew Brown. It wasn’t until Juan Lagares went on the DL in mid-April that Kirk would get another big-league opportunity, but he was back in Vegas as soon as Lagares returned. When Eric Young, Jr. went on the DL in May, Kirk was bypassed in favor of Matt den Dekker.

However den Dekker batted just .156 in 49 plate appearances, and with Chris Young also struggling mightily, the Mets needed to get someone – anyone – that could help offensively. So on June 19th, den Dekker was demoted and a hot-hitting Nieuwenhuis got the call in what may be his very last opportunity to impress the Mets.

Here’s something impressive – the Mets are 9-0 when Nieuwenhuis is in the starting lineup.

A lot can happen between now and the end of the season, but for the time being, Kirk Nieuwenhuis is making a solid case to remain the fourth outfielder. One has to wonder – maybe he can become another key reserve outfielder like Danny Heep was, and man that fourth outfield spot for the Mets over the next several seasons. Time will tell.

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Mets Outfield Merry-Go-Round Needs to Stop http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-outfield-merry-go-round-needs-to-stop.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/mets-outfield-merry-go-round-needs-to-stop.html/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 13:29:08 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160248 On Opening Day, the Mets appeared poised to start off the new campaign with a consistent outfield of Juan Lagares and their two offseason acquisitions, Chris Young and Curtis Granderson. However, since Young was scratched with a hamstring injury and started the season on the disabled list, the Mets outfield has been a revolving door.

While Granderson and Lagares merit playing every day at this point in the season, there are currently five men competing for at-bats in one spot of the lineup. Chris Young, Bobby Abreu, Eric Young Jr., Kirk Nieuwenhuis and even Eric Campbell have all shared sporadic playing time recently due to the inordinate number of outfielders on the major league roster.

I believe that Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ recent play merits extended consideration in left field. Eric Young Jr. is suited to be a platoon fourth outfielder, Campbell is a utility man and we know what Chris Young is at this point in his career.

Designating Chris  Young for assignment and moving Bobby  Abreu would allow younger players the chance for more consistent ABs.

Designating Chris Young for assignment and moving Bobby Abreu would allow younger players the chance for more consistent ABs.

While Bobby Abreu has been a pleasant surprise for the Mets this year, he would be better suited in a 4th outfielder/ pinch hitting role for a contending team right now. While I am not certain what kind of return, if any the Mets could get for the 40-year old Abreu, I believe both he and the team would be better served in moving him. Doing so would pave the way for younger players such as Kirk and EY to get more at-bats. I would advocate designating Chris Young for assignment for that exact same reason.

Kirk is a frustrating player to analyze. When he first came up in 2012 he batted .252 with 7 homers and 28 RBIs, but struck out way, and I mean WAY too much. He has an unusual swing that generates power in the lower part of the strike zone but is easily susceptible to a high fastball. He struck out in 34% of his ABs in 2012. Last year he struggled mightily as well, batting .189 in 47 games for the Mets.

Though it has been a small sample, in 19 games and 35 ABs this year with the team, Kirk is hitting .314 with 2 home runs, 5 doubles and 8 RBIs. Unfortunately, his strikeout rate remains very high, fanning in 37% of his ABs thus far.

Chances are, Kirk is not a longterm answer for the Mets in the outfield. His unorthodox swing is evidence of his incredibly athletic background and raw ability, but I am afraid he has come too far at this point in his baseball career to make the needed changes to reduce the massive whole that it comes with. However, in the meantime I am intrigued by the extra base hitting ability he can bring in the middle or even lower third of the lineup. Not to mention, he is a capable defensive outfielder who can play all three positions.

Kirk's recent performance and extra base hitting ability merits more consistent ABs in this crowded Mets outfield.

Kirk’s recent performance and extra base hitting ability merits more consistent ABs in this crowded Mets outfield.

I am not advocating running Kirk out there every single day. Certainly against left handers I would rather see Eric Young Jr. in the lineup. However, I would like to see TC give Kirk the chance to make several starts in a row.

His start against Texas Sunday was only his third since being called up on June 20th. It was also his first start since June 28th in Pittsburgh. Nine games under .500 and with the All-Star break quickly approaching, I would prefer to see a 26-year old like Nieuwenhuis in the lineup on a daily basis over players like Chris Young and Bobby Abreu who have a limited future with this organization.

Ultimately, the logjam in the outfield is ridiculous and it needs to be resolved by the time the All-Star break comes to an end. Sandy should cut his losses with Chris Young, send Abreu to a team that is better suited for him at this point in his career and allow some of his younger talent the chance to get regular playing time. The revolving door in the outfield is nothing if not debilitating, and it needs to be brought to an end.

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Jose Abreu and Lucas Duda: What Could Have Been and What Is… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/jose-abreu-and-lucas-duda-what-could-have-been-and-what-is.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/06/jose-abreu-and-lucas-duda-what-could-have-been-and-what-is.html/#comments Sat, 28 Jun 2014 14:52:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=159354 jose abreu

Yes, I know, I know, I know… Jose Abreu has 25 home runs and looks like the second coming of Hank Greenberg. I know, I know, I know… We should’ve signed him. But don’t you think 28 other teams are thinking the same thing right about now?

Sometimes, the unlikely happens and a prospect actually matches or exceeds the hype. That’s certainly what has happened here and it’s too bad we didn’t have the benefit of hindsight back in December. Oh well.

Still, there was more than one obstacle preventing us from landing this Cuban phenom, and chief among them is present ownership – Fred and Jeff.

Perhaps if the Mets weren’t limited to a Kansas City Royals-sized payroll, we could have gambled a few extra bucks on an unknown quantity like Abreu – even with Ike Davis and Lucas Duda firmly entrenched on the 25-man roster. But anyhow, that ship has sailed. Onward and upward.

lucas duda

I’ll tell you what, few have been as critical of Lucas Duda as I’ve been over the years. But considering how his season has transpired so far, maybe I was wrong. Maybe his best was yet to come and now with a regular position and (somewhat) regular playing time, we’re seeing the Lucas Duda we were hoping for three years ago. Better late than never.

Duda is continuing to rake at the plate – and more importantly – he’s been driving in some desperately needed runs. Last night, his two-run single in the fourth accounted for all of the Mets offense. He’s on pace for 35 doubles, 26 home runs and 85 RBI this season. 

The Mets’ hulking first baseman is is batting .288 (21-for-73) with five homers and 17 RBIs in June and his OPS is now at a very robust .825 for the season. He’s also hitting home runs with greater frequency, blasting a pair in consecutive games just this week for the third time in his career.

“That’s the kind of power he’s got, so we’re happy he’s producing those runs,” Collins said. “You continue to get those guys ahead of him on base and if he keeps swinging the way he is, he’s going to accumulate some RBIs.”

I read some great analysis on how hard Duda has been hitting the ball by ESPN’s Mark Simon. The stats guru writes:

Duda has produced a hard-hit ball in 23 percent of his opportunities (at-bats plus sacrifice flies) this season. That ranks eighth among the 210 players with at least 200 plate appearances this season, fifth-best in the National League. Two Pirates, Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison, rank in the top three, sandwiched around Braves slugger Evan Gattis.

Duda’s 2014 rate matches that of Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, arguably the game’s top slugger, and well exceeds that of former teammate Ike Davis (14 percent).

I’ll take that kind of production everyday plus Sundays.

Duda has always been one of those love’m or hate’m type of players at the plate. But since he’s become more aggressive in his approach, the numbers are what you want from a middle-of-the-order hitter and as a result a lot of fans are coming around on him. Me included.

Sure I wish we could have signed Jose Abreu, but we didn’t. Blame Fred and Jeff. But on the plus side, Lucas Duda is looking like a nice consolation prize so far. Let’s hope he continues to hit like this and perhaps even take it to another level.

Let’s Go Mets!

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Mets Minors: Kirk Blasts Two Dingers, Tapia Tosses Seven Scoreless http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/mets-minors-kirk-blasts-two-dingers-tapia-tosses-seven-scoreless.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/mets-minors-kirk-blasts-two-dingers-tapia-tosses-seven-scoreless.html/#comments Thu, 29 May 2014 17:03:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=157209 kitk nieuwenhuis

LAS VEGAS 13, EL PASO 7

Logan Verrett made the start on Wednesday in what turned out to be a slugfest against El Paso. Verrett did not fare well in his AAA debut, allowing a whopping seven earned runs on twelve hits in six innings pitched. However, he did strike out nine batters, while only walking one. Despite Verrett’s poor outing, he was able to pick up the win due to Vegas’ attack on offense. Kirk Nieuwenhuis went 4 for 6 with a pair of two-run home runs, also adding a double to his line. Allan Dykstra had a 3 for 5 game, smacking two doubles and picking up two rib eye steaks. Brandon Allen also had a home run. It was an extremely impressive showing for the Las Vegas offense all around on Wednesday as they picked up the win. Joel Carreno will get the start for Las Vegas on Thursday.

BINGHAMTON 7, NEW HAMPSHIRE 5 - Game 1

Cory Vaughn recorded three hits as the B-Mets held on to win the game and complete the game that initially started on Tuesday night but was suspended due to rain. Tyler Pill received the win, but allowed five runs in four innings. Chase Bradford, who hasn’t given up a run in his last eight appearances, pitched a scoreless ninth for his 11th save.

NEW HAMSHPIRE 5, BINGHAMTON 2 – Game 2

Rainy Lara started the game for the B-Mets but only pitched 2.2 innings, because in the third inning, while covering home plate, he suffered an injury and was removed from the game. He gave up just an earned run on three hits, while walking none and striking out two. He would also suffer the loss. Binghamton could not muster much on offense with Matt Clark registering the only extra base hit. He was also the only player with multiple hits, going 2 for 2 with an RBI. Kyle Johnson picked up the other RBI on a triple in the bottom of the sixth inning that scored Wilfredo TovarKevin Plawecki upped his average to .340 with a 1 for 3 night. Tyler Pill will make the start for the B-Mets on Thursday.

ST. LUCIE 3, BREVARD COUNTY 2

Domingo Tapia took the hill for the St. Lucie Mets on Wednesday and tossed seven innings, allowing three hits and three walks, but only struck out one. He did not give up an earned run, however, and did pick up the win; his second of the season. Brandon Nimmo returned to the lineup on Wednesday and singled in the first inning. He advanced to second on a walk toGilbert Gomez and stole third with Jairo Perez batting. Perez then drove him and Gomez in on a single. Eudy Pena picked up the last RBI with a 1 for 3 game. Randy Fontanez made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth, allowing two runs, but eventually locked down the save. The St. Lucie Mets are now ten games above .500. Luis Cessa will make the start on Thursday.

SAVANNAH, AUGUSTA – POSTPONED

The Sand Gnats’s game against Augusta was postponed on Wednesday due to rain. Ricky Knapp  will take the mound on Thursday against Rome.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Kirk Nieuwenhuis clubbed a pair of two run shots in Wednesday’s contest, while also adding a double. He scored three runs on the night and drove in four.

MMO

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Lagares Says Recovery Will Take 1-2 Weeks http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/lagares-says-recovery-will-take-1-2-weeks.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/lagares-says-recovery-will-take-1-2-weeks.html/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 00:08:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=153398 juan-lagares

April 16

Mike Vorkunov of the Star-Ledger reports that Juan Lagares received his MRI results on Wednesday and after talking to the trainer, said his recovery time should take about 1-2 weeks.

“I feel better now,” said Lagares.

April 15

Citing a source from the team, Marc Carig of Newsday is reporting that the Mets will place Juan Lagares on the 15-day disabled list prior to tonight’s game in Arizona.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis has already be re-called and is headed to Phoenix to join the team and should be available to play tonight’s contest against the Diamondbacks.

The loss of Lagares is a major blow to the Mets as he was leading the team in many offensive categories including a .314 batting average and an .816 OPS.

Nieuwenhuis was hitting .310 with two homers and eight RBIs in 42 at-bats for Las Vegas.

As for Curtis Granderson, the news is much better. He told reporters that he is feeling good and that he will avoid the Disabled List. He may even be available off the bench today if needed as a pinch-hitter.

Granderson custom-ordered cleats he’ll wear for Jackie Robinson Day tonight and will auction them off for charity after game.

thank you jackie

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 9, Diamondbacks 0 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-game-recap-mets-9-diamondbacks-0.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-game-recap-mets-9-diamondbacks-0.html/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:40:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=153435 kitk nieuwenhuis

There are nights when everything works, right from the start. Tuesday in Arizona was one of those nights for the Mets. Facing Met-Killer, Bronson Arroyo, and wearing number 42 on all of their jerseys in honor of Jackie Robinson, the Mets put three quick runs on the board in the top of the first inning. Eric Young, Daniel Murphy, and David Wright starting the game with successive hits. The tone was set offensively, and Jenrry Mejia added exclamation in the bottom of the inning, with a perfect first on only nine pitches.

The game remained 3-0, with Mejia pitching perfectly through the third inning, when the floodgates opened. After an Andrew Brown single, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, having been called up for Juan Lagares, collected his second hit of the night, this one a home run into the pool in right-center field. The Mets had a 5-0 lead and were on their way to a route. By the time the top of the fourth inning ended, it was 9-0 New York. After Kirk’s home run, six of the next seven batters reached base.

The only point of interest at this point being whether Jenrry Mejia could make history after a perfect start. But after the long delay in the top of the inning, he walked the first batter in the fourth, and then Paul Goldschmidt singled down the left field line to end the no-hit bid. Mejia would end up exiting the game in the sixth due to a blister, but the score could have dictated the precautionary measures.

After an 0-3 start to the season, the Amazins are already back to .500. They are 7-7 with a final away game to finish the nine-game road trip tomorrow afternoon, before they begin a ten-game homestand.

Mets DBacks WE 4.15

Key Play

The sign of a good team is when one player leaves the lineup, another one enters, and makes the most out of it. Kirk Nieuwenhuis did that tonight, and his home run to make it 5-0 really sent the game in a blow-out direction.

Nieuwenhuis HR 4.15

Starter Focus

Jenrry Mejia

Mejia was sharp from the start, pitching five innings of two-hit baseball over 77 pitches. His cutter becoming a dominant pitch. He didn’t quite get the swings-and-misses utilizing the pitch we have seen early in the season (whiff% of 12.98%), but was still effective. He left the game early due to a blister.

Mejia 4.15

Bronson Arroyo

Arroyo entered the night 8-3 with a 3.63 ERA in his career against the Mets. He looked anything but dominant against them tonight. The Mets tagged ten hits and nine earned runs on Arroyo before he was pulled in the fourth.

Arroyo 4.15

Game Notes

  • Filling in for Juan Lagares, Kirk Nieuwenhuis had an impressive night going 3-5, and flagging down everything in center field.
  • The Mets are now 5-3 on their nine-game road trip, which concludes tomorrow afternoon, as they go for the sweep of Arizona.
  • The Mets have now scored 12 first inning runs, good for top five in baseball.
  • Scoring first had been a bad omen heading into this game, but the Mets improve to 3-6 when they plate the first run.
Win Probability Chart courtesy of FanGraphs. Detailed pitching data courtesy of Brooks Baseball.

Presented By Diehards

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Lagares’ Injury and the Optimist’s View http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/lagares-injury-and-the-optimists-view.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/lagares-injury-and-the-optimists-view.html/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:09:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=153367 juan-lagares

The hamstring injury to Juan Lagares is unfortunate on so many levels. While the Spring was filled with much debate on how much playing time Lagares would see, it was clear he had become the team’s everyday centerfielder just two weeks into the season. With Lagares, the argument has always been that he is a defensive gem-maker and anything you get from the bat is gravy. But in the first 13 games, Lagares leads the team in AVG, OBP, SLG and OPS amongst Mets qualifiers. And if you add non-qualfiers, only Lucas Duda presents a reasonable argument on the power numbers. Let that sink in again. That Lagares is leading the team offensively is probably more of a statement on the rest of the Mets roster, but an .815 OPS with the kind of defense Lagares brings to the table has been exciting to see nonetheless.

Lagares has been one of the few bright spots in the early season for the Mets, and losing him for any stretch of time can certainly hurt. But let’s look at the rest of the team. The offense has been a disaster. As a team, the Mets are dead last in the NL in most major hitting categories. Their strikeout numbers will smash the MLB record if it continues at this pace. And there has certainly been little contribution from their biggest free agent acquisition of the offseason, as Curtis Granderson has really struggled.

Yet through this offensive ineptitude, the Mets are on the precipice of being a .500 club. If Lagares were to miss significant playing time, it could begin a nose-dive similar to last season that ended all Mets hopes before the first of June. But perhaps not. Chris Young can return on Friday and so far, no one can figure out how to get him out in his rehab stint in Vegas. Kirk Nieuwenhuis has also started the season hot in Vegas, with 2 HRs and a .810 OPS. Maybe they don’t possess Lagares’ glove (heck, who does?), but these guys bring significant defensive creds to the outfield.

Then what happens when David Wright starts hitting like David Wright? Travis d’Arnaud has shown some signs of breaking out of his early season fog. And then there is Granderson. Surely, there has to be more from our clean-up hitter than what we have seen to date?

I am probably more bummed for Lagares as a player. He has certainly earned the right to play everyday and it stinks that he will almost certainly miss a chunk of time. Hamstrings don’t heal quickly and there is always a risk of re-injury if the rehab is rushed. But the fact is Lagares pretty much carried this team at the plate for the first two weeks of this season. Now it is time for the players that are supposed to carry us to step up. That means you David Wright. That means you Curtis Granderson. And if Chris Young can add something at the plate, I anticipate we’ll still be a .500 team when Lagares returns.

addicted to mets button

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Collins Reminds Nieuwenhuis He’s Not Forgotten http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/collins-reminds-nieuwenhuis-hes-not-forgotten.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/collins-reminds-nieuwenhuis-hes-not-forgotten.html/#comments Tue, 18 Feb 2014 20:45:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=148442 kirk nieuwenhuis mets brewers

Terry Collins has recently made a point to tell Kirk Nieuwenhuis that, despite the additions of Curtis Granderson, Eric Young Jr. and Chris Young since the middle of last season and the impressive play by Juan Lagares, he is not an afterthought, according to Adam Rubin.

Nieuwenhuis hit .189/.278/.337 with 18 hits, 14 RBI’s and three home runs in 95 at-bats last season. He was not selected for a September call-up.

Rubin writes that Collins had this to say about his conversation with Nieuwenhuis on Tuesday:

“I said, ‘Listen, there’s a lot of talk about Curtis. And there’s a lot of talk about Chris and Lagares.’ I said, ‘Two years ago the talk was about you, and you fought some injuries — some bad injuries.’ You know, he hurt his shoulder very bad. Then he had the foot issue. I said, ‘Listen, you can still play. There’s a job here for Kirk Nieuwenhuis, but you’ve got to go and show us you’re the player that we all know you can be.”

If Nieuwenhuis, puts up similar numbers as he did in 2012 when he hit .252, with 12 doubles, seven home runs, and 28 RBI’s, he will be a needed bat off the bench and can add additional depth to the outfield situation.

 

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Mets Pitching Is The Key To Beating Preseason Projections http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/mets-pitching-is-the-key-to-beating-preseason-projections.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/mets-pitching-is-the-key-to-beating-preseason-projections.html/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 14:15:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=147264 Even if it´s tough to believe for Mets fans, the reason for rather modest projections for 2014 is the lack of trust that analysts have in the – mostly unproven – Mets pitching staff.

The Fangraphs ZiPS projection is a good indicator for that. The entire projected opening day pitching staff (i.e. rotation of Niese – Colon – Wheeler – Gee – Mejia) projects to combine for a mere total of an 8 fWAR. Which is by far the worst projected pitching staff in the divisision, well behind the Marlins & Phillies (both 13 fWAR), Braves (20 fWAR) and Nationals (21 fWAR).

wright murphyMeanwhile, the Mets´ projected offense is a lot closer towards contender status at a combined 19 fWAR, well ahead of the Marlins (12 fWAR) and Phillies (15 fWAR) and barely behind the Braves (20 fWAR) and Nationals (23 fWAR).

And if you look back into the rear view mirror (something all projection systems heavily rely on), the Mets offense averaged 634.5 runs between 2012 & 2013 – with very similar rosters except for Marlon Byrd replacing Scott Hairston and the C position being in flux and CF traditionally unsettled. The Phillies averaged 647 runs (in a hitter friendlier park), the Marlins averaged a terrible 561 runs, the Nationals 693.5 and the Braves 694. So, the Mets were 60 runs away from leading the division in runs scored. Since 1 win takes 10 runs scored or not allowed, the Mets were about 6 wins away on offense from contending for the division crown.

Meanwhile, the pitching was a lot further away at an average of 696.5 runs allowed.

The Nats – on average – allowed 610 runs while the Braves merely allowed 574 runs. So, the Mets were between 86.5 and 122.5 – thus on average 104.5 runs or 10+ wins – off the league lead. Even the Marlins (685 runs allowed) were better and the Phillies – in a much tougher homepark – allowed only 714.5 runs on average – 28 more than the Mets staff´s averaged.

Scott Hairston (2012) & Marlon Byrd (2013) now get replaced by Curtis Granderson while Travis d’Arnaud takes over at catcher for Josh Thole (2012) and John Buck (2013). CF remains unsettled but now features Juan Lagares & Chris Young as the main options instead of the revolving door of 2013 and Kirk Nieuwenhuis & Andres Torres in 2012. The rest of the roster essentially returns, though it appears only one of Duda & Ike Davis will play regularly. All in all, if d´Arnaud is better than Buck & Thole were, while the CF also produce more, expecting the 2014 Mets to score at least 650 runs seems reasonable and thus a gain of 1 or 2 wins as it is, not expecting any breakouts from Ike or Tejada or regression from Wright and Murphy.

zack wheeler 2But it all comes down to the pitching. If the Mets staff gives up 695 or more runs again – and thus on average 100 more than the Nats & Braves figure to give up – they won´t make up the difference. If the Mets give up 50 runs less by pitching better, that´s good for 5 wins and a .500 season overall (650 RS vs. 645 RA). If the Mets give up 100 runs less by pitching much better – both in the rotation and bullpen – they would make up another 5+ games and would project to end up right around 86 or 87 wins. And if you happen to like the depth that the Mets will finally have on both their pitching staff (Montero, Syndergaard, young relievers, etc) and offensively (mainly Flores but also some fringy outfielders like Nieuwenhuis & MDD), the upside may even be a little higher compared to the 2012 and 2013 teams that both lacked quality depth behind the regulars.

To summarize, the Mets figure to have a middle of the pack offense in 2014 and going forward. Which isn´t too bad, considering that Citi Field plays about neutral to slightly pitcher friendly. If the pitching remains below average like it has been in 2012 and 2013, the Mets won´t crack .500 and certainly won´t contend. If the young arms perform and the veterans remain solid, this is the big area of upside – both rotation & bullpen – where the Mets could improve significantly.

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Love Is In The Air… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/love-is-in-the-air.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/love-is-in-the-air.html/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2014 17:27:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139769 wright-beers

I’m sure that you’ve all heard about David Wright getting married to his longtime girlfriend Molly Beers, last month. Sorry ladies, he’s officially off the market.

Wright, 31, tied the knot in California and most of his teammates both were all on hand.

“For me it’s the next step to growing up and the next step for me in life,” he said. “Everything went great. I’m in a good place. I’m happy.”

It seems the Mets’ captain has sparked a wave of Mets nuptials as Anthony ReckerJosh Satin and Kirk Nieuwenhuis all got married as well this offseason.

But this rush of Mets romance has not been limited to just the major league roster but down in the minors as well. 

Yesterday, both Kevin Plawecki and Matt den Dekker took huge first steps and proposed to their lovely girlfriends, and after accepting, both couples are now officially engaged.

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Kevin Plawecki gets down on one knee, but not to fire a throw to second base.

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Matt says, “364 days together and I couldn’t wait another day to marry this girl!”

Who knew the Mets had so many romantics on the roster… Congratulations to all of you from Metsmerized!

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Mets Had One Of The Best Under The Radar Offseasons http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mets-had-one-of-the-best-under-the-radar-offseasons.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mets-had-one-of-the-best-under-the-radar-offseasons.html/#comments Mon, 13 Jan 2014 01:57:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139543 Mike Petriello of ESPN (Insider Subscription) writes that the Mets had one of the best under-the-radar offseasons by signing Curtis Granderson and Chris Young to upgrade their outfield defense.

For most of the first third of 2013, he writes, the corner outfielders in New York were Lucas Duda in left and Marlon Byrd in right, flanking a rotating combination of Rick AnkielCollin CowgillJordany Valdespin and Kirk Nieuwenhuis in center field. That’s pretty brutal.

juan lagaresWhile Byrd was somewhat above average, he adds, Duda is so bad that he’s  accumulated a shocking minus-42 defensive runs saved (DRS) in parts of four seasons for the Mets. He was eventually replaced by Eric Young, but even he was only slightly better, with minus-7 DRS for the season.

Petriello says that things turned around when Juan Lagares took over the bulk of time in center and proved to be one of the best defensive center fielders in the game.

Well deserved praise for Lagares and the Mets by ESPN. With Lagares in center flanked by Granderson and Young in the corners, Mets pitchers should reap the benefits of one of the best defensive outfields in baseball.

After what we’ve seen over the last 4-5 years, it will be a pleasure not to hold our breaths everytime a batter sends one sailing over the infield. I’m looking forward to seeing all three of them patrolling the same outfield when spring training games begin in about five weeks.

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Mets Historic Third Round Picks http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mets-historic-third-round-picks.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mets-historic-third-round-picks.html/#comments Sun, 12 Jan 2014 23:23:23 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=138589 *Apr 01 - 00:00*05_Flatbed_WEB

The Mets have selected 47 players in third round of the June amateur draft. Of these 47 players, 15 of them have made it to the Major Leagues. That’s a 31% rate.

What kind of success have these 15 men had in the bigs?

1965 - Joe Moock - Joe made to the bigs in 1967 with the Mets and appeared in 13 late season games, starting 10 at Third Base, batting .225 with 0 HR and 7 RBI.

1972 - Craig Swan - Craig played 12 seasons in the Majors (1973-84) and played all but the final two games of his MLB career with the Mets. He pitched 231 games (185 starts) with a record of 59-72 and an ERA of 3.74 and 2 saves in 1,235.2 innings. In 1978, he led the NL in ERA with a 2.43 and won a career high 15 games in 1979 when he also threw a career high 253.1 innings. He finished his MLB career with two appearances with the California Angels after being released by the Mets in May 1984.

1978 – Brian Giles - Brian played 6 seasons in the bigs (1981-83, 1986-86, 1990) with the Mets (1981-83), Brewers, White Sox, and Mariners. He played more than half of his 287 MLB games in 1983 when he hit .245 with 2 HR and 27 RBI in 145 games. He was a career .228 hitter with 10 HR and 50 RBI.

1982 – Roger McDowell - Roger pitched 12 years in the majors (1985-96) with the Mets (1985-89), Phillies, Dodgers, Rangers, and Orioles. He was traded with Lenny Dykstra in the 1989 trade that brought Juan Samuel to the Mets. Roger pitched in 723 games with a 70-70 record and an ERA of 3.30 and 159 saves in 1,050 innings. He is among franchise leaders in games pitched (280 -13th all time) and saves (6th – 84).

1983 – Rick Aguilera - Rick pitched 16 years in the majors (1985-2000) with the Mets (1985-89), Twins, Red Sox, and Cubs. Rick pitched in 732 games (89 starts) with a 86-81 record and a 3.57 ERA and 318 saves (17th all time in MLB history) in 1,291.1 innings. He also struck out 1,030 batters and was a three time All-Star with the Twins (1991, 1992, 1993). Rick was part of the July 31, 1989 trade that brought Frank Viola to the Mets.

1988 – Doug Saunders - Doug appeared in 28 games with the Mets in two stints with the team in 1993. He hit .209 with 0 HR and 0 RBI.

1989 – Brook Fordyce - Brook played 10 seasons in the majors (1995-2004) with the Mets (3 games in 1995), Reds, White Sox, Orioles, and Devil Rays. He appeared in 623 games and hit .258 with 41 HR and 188 RBI.

1990. Micah Franklin - Micah appeared in 17 games for the Cardinals in 1997, hitting .324 with 2 HR and 2 RBI. He hit his second and final MLB Home Run off John Smoltz on May 17th, 1997.

1993 – Mike Welch - Mike pitched in 10 games (2 starts) for the Phillies in 1998. He had a career record of 0-2 with an ERA of 8.27. He made his MLB debut against the Mets on July 17, 1998 where he allowed a home run to Brian McRae. He appeared in his second MLB game on July 19th, also against the Mets when he allowed a home run to John Olerud.

1996 – Ed Yarnall - Ed pitched in 7 games with the Yankees (1999-2000) and made 3 starts. He had a career record of 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in 20 career innings. He was one of the players along with Preston Wilson and Geoff Goetz that were traded to the Marlins for Mike Piazza.

1997 – Cesar Crespo - Cesar appeared in 132 games over three seasons (2001-02, 2004) with the Padres and Red Sox. He was a career .192 hitter with 4 HR and 14 RBI.

1999 – Jeremy Griffiths - Jeremy pitched in 10 MLB games with the Mets (2003) and Astros (2004). 9 of those 10 appearances came with the Mets and he had a career record of 1-4 with an ERA of 7.20 in 45.1 innings. His lone career victory was on August 3, 2003 where he started against the Cardinals at Shea where he went 7 innings.

2001 – Lenny DiNardo - Lenny pitched 6 seasons in the Majors (2004-09) with the Red Sox, A’s, and Royals. He appeared in 94 games (34 starts) with a record of 10-18 and an ERA of 5.36 in 257 innings.

2006 – Joe Smith - Joe has pitched 7 MLB seasons (2007-present) with the Mets (2007-08) and Indians. He has appeared in 439 games with a record of 27-16 and an ERA of 2.97 and three saves in 378.2 innings. Joe signed this offseason with the Angels on a 3 year, $15.75 million contract.

2008 – Kirk Nieuwenhuis - Kirk has played two seasons with the Mets (2012-13) and is a career .236 hitter at the MLB level with 10 HR and 42 RBI in 138 games.

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